Battling Giants

Welcome to Real Life. God is speaking. When life is hard, am I still listening?

God Speaks Series | Battling Giants | Hebrews 3, 4
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
Warning: Don’t be like the Children of Israel. 
As slaves in Egypt, they cry out to God for deliverance. He sends Moses to Pharaoh to say, “Let my people go.”  Ten plagues later, Pharaoh does. God leads the Israelites across the desert to the Promised Land. But at the border, they refuse to enter. They’re afraid. Giants are in the land.

These same Israelites saw God rain plagues on
Egypt and drown the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. They experienced God’s miraculous provision and protection in the desert. Yet, on the verge of stepping into their inheritance, they stop trusting God. They harden their hearts. God won’t force Israel to enter. Instead, he allows them to remain in the desert 40 years until that generation dies. Then, he leads their children safely into the Promised Land.

I've been in the desert. I’ve faced giants. The sad truth is that I can totally relate to the Children of Israel. When life is good, faith comes easy.
  But when life is hard, I sometimes doubt God’s ability to get me safely into the Promised Land. 

My first tour of the desert was a descent into post partum depression after the birth of my second child. I could not eat. I could not sleep. I was overcome with anxiety. The peace and joy I knew as a follower of Christ were suddenly gone. Though I begged God for relief, I continued to suffer. I could not understand why a God who loved me would allow this horrible darkness at a time of joy – the birth of a child. I had to decide. Would I harden my heart and let my faith die in the desert? Or, would I continue to trust God even when life didn’t make sense? I trusted God.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
We (God and I) battled the giants of anxiety and depression together. After many months, he led me out of the desert and safely back to health and wholeness. In addition, over the years he’s given me insight into why I have battled depression.[1]

Ruth Bell Graham wrote that trials and testing are two sides of the same coin.[2]  Our enemy wants trials to defeat us. God wants them to strengthen us. Not long ago, I was facing a number of impossible situations at once. I kept praying, “Lord, increase my faith.” One day, he answered, “You keep asking me to increase your faith.  I’ve given you these challenging situations so that when I bring you safely through, your faith will increase.” 

Life is not easy.  But I've battled enough giants to know that God is faithful. So, I’ll keep fighting. I’ll keep listening to his voice in the desert. I’ll keep trusting him to get me safely into the Promised Land. That’s Real Life.


Something to think about:
  • Are you in the desert? Facing giants? God is fully able to get you safely through. Keep trusting him.
  • Is a friend struggling? Pray for them. Encourage them. We need each other in the deserts of life.
  • A new battle song by Sara Groves: “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.”
  • Watch the movie, Facing the Giants.  (Check out this scene on YouTube).  

[1] More on battling depression in a coming blog.
[2] Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan, 1990, p. 1373.

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